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Herz pitches Wings past Buffalo

Updated: 5 days ago

By: Liam Hoffmann

DJ Herz pitching on May 18 2024. Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

ROCHESTER, NY-- After Friday night's contest was postponed due to inclement weather, the resulting Saturday afternoon doubleheader between the Rochester Red Wings and Buffalo Bisons saw Rochester prevail in Game 2 with a 2-1 win behind a shutout five-inning start for pitcher DJ Herz. It was Herz's first AAA win and also his first time going a full five innings in May.


"I'm so proud of what he did, coming off a couple bad outings," Red Wings manager Mat LeCroy said. "To me, that's the best that he's ever thrown a baseball. We're really excited to see him in his next start."


Herz posted a final line of five innings, three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts, a season-high. He struck out one batter in each of the first three innings before two in the fourth and three in the fifth to close out his start. Rico Garcia allowed a home run but ultimately earned the save for Rochester with one strikeout in his single inning of play.


"I haven't pitched in nine days, so it was good to just get this good one under the belt and now we take everything we've worked on and keep continuing to do it," Herz said.


Trey Lipscomb returned to Rochester's lineup in Game 2 and was alongside Juan Yepez as the only Wings with multi-hit evenings, each with two. Lipscomb added an RBI as did Carter Kieboom whose sixth-inning sac-fly to center field scored James Wood. Darren Baker scored Rochester's first run.


Addison Barger was the only Bison with multiple hits, one being his seventh-inning homer that garnered the only run of the game for Buffalo. Paolo Espino started for Buffalo and allowed six hits, struck out three batters, walked two and allowed both runs.


"Against a guy like Espino...you may only get a couple of chances to score so I just try to do my job to get on base for Woody and Dunn," Baker said.


Darren Baker celebrating in the dugout. Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

The Wings struck first via Baker's run in the bottom of the first. He singled down the left field line before Travis Blankenhorn walked and set up Lipscomb. In Lipscomb's first AAA plate appearance of May, he singled on a ground ball between first and second base, scoring Baker and giving Rochester the 1-0 advantage.


"We call [Baker] the 'Hit-Collector,' because he just finds ways to get on base and get hits," LeCroy said. "He's a guy that when the season started, he wasn't sure how much he would play like he did last year because we had some guys that came up. He embraced it, and when he got his opportunity to play now he's making the most of it."


Herz's strong performance on the mound plus continued error-free defensive play for Rochester kept Buffalo runners out of scoring position until the fourth inning. Leo Jimenez reached second after a single and in the fifth, Eden did as well via a stolen base. But, Eden was the only Bison in that inning not to strike out.


"It's a good feeling when you know you can trust the guys and you don't got to worry," Herz said. "Guys can get on but then hit into a double play."


Erick Mejia making a catch at the wall on May 18 2024. Photo Credit: Ethan Bissinger / Rochester Red Wings

Wood's sixth-inning insurance run came after he, Lipscomb and Yepez singled. With the bases loaded, Kieboom hit a ball to deep center field and by his sacrifice drove in Wood. putting Rochester ahead 2-0, the score that held until the seventh inning.


The series will end tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. Starting with Rochester's 7-5 Tuesday night win, the two sides have alternated winners in this series and the Red Wings lead it 3-2. Jackson Rutledge (2-2, 6.33) is probable to start for the Red Wings and for the Bisons, Troy Watson, a usual bullpen arm, is expected to begin on the mound.


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